THEY are one of Scotland's most underrated up-and-coming combos - who have been ably assisted by one of the country's biggest current pop stars, Lauren Mayberry from Chvrches.

Babe, fronted by Glasgow's Gerard Black, who have self-produced a captivating second album of sophisti-pop plough a similar furrow to the electro-pop of Chvrches.

But while the Mayberry-fronted band can headline the SSE Hydro, Babe's more reflectively dark falsetto-tinged tunes are yet to hit the national conscience to the same degree.

Evening Times:

Tom Ogden and Gerard Black

With the help of Lauren Mayberry on backing vocals, Babe showed promised with their debut Volery Flighty three years ago - as Chvrches were about to find fame with their first two albums The Bones Of What You Believe and Every Open Eye.

Black who knew Mayberry having worked together in a cinema said: "We would have loved to have had Lauren as a full time member.

"She has an amazing voice, synth skills, and is so so sound.

"I asked her to re-do some of the backing vocals I'd written. In true Babe fashion, Maybs knocked it out in one or two takes and we signed it off. We did three gigs together before Chvrches took off... and the rest is history etc."

Babe's second album Kiss & Tell is Mayberry-free, was written in six months and recorded in three weeks. That less laboured process has worked on standout tracks Wisteria, Realistic, Bit Part and Ecce Poque.

One of Kiss & Tell's standout tracks.

The band was started in Glasgow by Black and Michael Marshall, both formerly of the Scottish synth-pop quartet Findo Gask who enlisted the help of Tom Ogden and Amaury Ranger.

So how did you manage to get together?

"Babe started after a trip to Tom's flat in Dundee. Both our bands had split early 2010 and I went up to see if we had any business together. At the time, Tom didn't know what an A minor was but, three minutes later he was bashing out the guitar part to the song from our first album, Aerialist Barbette [featuring the backing vocals of Mayberry] . That was so refreshing but he's unfortunately learned a few along the way.

"Our drummer and producer John lives in Glasgow and we're trying to convince Amaury to give it one more go after a disappointing amount of rain in autumn 2016. I missed Glasgow so I had to move back.

"Glasgow's an amazing place to give artists time and space to breathe. Luckily you can still land on your feet with south side or east end rents and this allows people to retain energy for doing what they do. When money becomes too much of an issue, I feel the artist's intentions are slightly compromised and people either start chasing radio plays or give up entirely.

Evening Times:

"You're sure to meet more folk down in London but bands can break out from anywhere. I moved back to Glasgow because there is a healthy and supportive scene there, not just with music. Also there's this unwritten rule that you're not allowed to have an ego in Glasgow which you don't get everywhere."

Where and how was the newly released album recorded, and how does it differ from the first?

"Most of Kiss & Tell was recorded in Amaury's old studio in Brussels, engineered by ourselves. I had previously been the main producer in the band but it's a tough gig, writing, arranging, producing, mixing. I love John's production in Dolby Anol and Bossy Love and we wanted it to represent our live shows and make it go bang. He took it to a place I couldn't."

Live gigs in Glasgow can be an issue, though.

"The most bizarre thing to happen to us was when soundchecking at the Oran Mor and pish was leaking onto the stage from the toilets above. Boke," he said.

Black believes that current pop music is "pretty faceless".

"Musically, everything follows the same trends and it all kinda sounds the same with interchangeable singers. I can't remember the last time I heard a voice that gave me goosebumps. Luckily hip hop and r'n'b are pushing things along but the good stuff out there today is unfortunately underground. People like Beatrice Dillon and Mica Levi do it for me."

The band manage to break even although Black admits their business model is not exactly the most streamlined.

"We're always flying Amaury over from France and getting Tom up from London. There's isn't really much money to be had unless you're punting merchandise.

Evening Times:

"Our French connection has served us well. We play as much over there as we do in the UK.

We're all mates and we enjoy each other's company so as long as we can break even I think we'll keep doing it for the tee hee, lols, and gossip.

But are their obstacles for a new-ish band breaking through?

"Maybe you just need that hit? It helps if someone is willing to throw money at you too of course," said Black.

Meanwhile album three is written and in true prolific style, hope to get the mix done over Christmas and out next year.

"Watch out for that, it's getting to be proper hot stuff," he says.

Kiss & Tell was released via Kartel Music Group.